a rerun of a bad film...

Ann Richman

Of Sticks and Missiles

      “All wars are boyish, and are fought by boys”
          Herman Melville, “The March into Virginia,” 1861

The little boys on our leafy street,
sticks in hand, moved
in their own worlds, green grass, maple trees.
Sticks were guns, swords,
arrows sailing through the air.

Soon the sticks will be bats,
racquets and clubs.
But they don’t have to become missiles.

Boys can grow up.
They can see that war doesn’t work anymore.
Even the chief war-monger says
we’re in a rerun of a bad film.

War doesn’t work
now that there are no secrets,
the nuclear tricks known
not just in Washington and Moscow,
but New Delhi, Islamabad,
Pyongyang, Jerusalem.

Big sticks can end life,
earth become barren –
no more indigo buntings and goldfinches
flying together like a moving stained glass window
not even a cricket to skip with a click
and not one green fly
on a rock
still warmed by the sun.


A profound moment from a wonderful poet and person – a voice I miss terribly.


Antietam, September, 1862

23,726 casualties


ezb said...

hey Sam, give us 8. Perhaps between 9,600 and 9,608.
I am tagging you for the Super 8 meme. Get me!me med em me’d


Collin said...

A very timely poem, Sam. Thanks for posting it.

Sara Kearns said...

wow, that photo. perfectly horible, terrible, haunting.

sam of the ten thousand things said...

Thanks for the read, Sara, Collin and EZB - I'll get to work on the meme.

pj said...

i don't know which hits most, the poem or the picture. i'm passing the poem along to a friend - hope you don't mind.

sam of the ten thousand things said...

Do pass along the poem - and thanks for the read, PJ.